Kill the messenger

After three years of wrangling, the fight between Oceanport residents and the owners and operators of the helipad at the Monmouth Corporate Park has come to an end.

The biggest loser in the saga turns out not to be the residents who suffered from the overhead flights or the owners or operators of the helipad.

The person who comes away from the battle most scarred is now former West Long Branch Zoning Officer Jerome Donlon.

He certainly didn’t rush to his judgment that the helipad was operating in violation of borough zoning ordinances, but after making his determination, he received no support from the officials who hired him.

Rather than stand behind the man they entrusted with the job of zoning officer, the West Long Branch Borough Council quickly moved to undermine him.

First, the council negotiated a settlement that kept in place a facility that has yet to be shown to be operating properly.

The next move (that Donlon and others see as related to the helipad case) was to seek his resignation over another matter.

Finally, when all the delaying tactics were used up, the borough’s prosecutor negotiated a plea agreement that holds the owners of the site blameless and imposes a fine that is probably significantly less than the legal fees they paid fighting the citation.

Through it all, Donlon conducted himself as a professional and sought nothing more than to hold a corporate citizen to the same rules that apply to the rest of the borough.

Jerry Donlon deserved better, and so do the people of West Long Branch.